Exporting can be a path to growth, but there are some areas you should research to ensure that expanding into overseas markets brings rewards, not problems.
One very obvious implication for your product arises if you are exporting to countries with different languages. Your packaging, product literature, advertising and point-of-sale material will all need a re-design. You may also need to review all of your marketing communications materials for other English-speaking countries because of cultural differences. An example of this is if your advertising relies on irony - the American market may have a different sense of humour and so not respond very positively.
A key risk for exporters is that your customers will fail to make prompt (or any) payment. It is vital you protect yourself against this. Measures include:
Above all, if you are in any doubt, you should seek professional guidance to help you manage your credit. The British Chambers of Commerce can point you in the right direction.
Exporting obviously makes you prey to exchange rate fluctuations.
There are a number of ways you can protect against currency fluctuations, including:
The British Chambers of Commerce can advise you on getting help to manage your exporting finances.
To help you see the potential impact of exchange rate fluctuations, take a look at our handy export cashflow calculator.
Sustained export success is dependent on mastering international trade procedures. Investment in training and computer software may both be needed to aid your management of trading (and payment) processes. What you are exporting and where it is going obviously determine the kind of procedures you need to employ, but key procedures usually include:
Chambers of Commerce offer guidance and training courses on paperwork for the movement of goods. Certificates of origin are often required to meet customs and quota requirements in the importing state, and the Chambers of Commerce are the designated authorities for the issue of EU certificates of origin. The service is available to all businesses in the UK at a reasonable cost, although Chamber members receive beneficial rates.
The movement of your goods will play a key role in facilitating your global commerce. To ensure the mode of transport and packing is best suited to your product, first-time exporters can discuss their plans with their local Chambers to check that they haven't missed anything.
You can get help with the packing and shipping of your goods from a forwarding agent. Finally, your goods should be insured. Although there is no legal obligation to do so, it is generally advisable. Marine insurance is a general term used to describe cover against damage and loss for goods while in transit. Policies will also cover road, rail and air freight.
Governments control the export of goods and technology primarily to control the transfer of arms. This includes many items designed for civil use but termed 'dual-use' because they could be used for military purposes. These items include:
The licenses are controlled and issued by the Export Control Organisation (ECO) of the DTI. It is vital that if you are in any doubt of your need for a licence that you seek legal guidance, irrespective of the destination of your goods.
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